32 LIFE OF With overflowing joy Alexander communicated the near fulfilment of his long-cherished plans and wishes to his elder brother at Paris, and his descriptions of Spain, which were painted in the most glowing colours by the animated pleasxire he felt, persuaded William von Humboldt to a journey there. Alexander must liave described the beautiful Spain to his brother so attractively already in February, when he was still on Ms way to Madrid, for Frau von Humboldt wrote horae at that time that her husband intended to go alone to Madrid., perhaps even to Lisbon, at the end of March, while she would remain in the Pyrenees with the children. The subsequent descriptions of Alexander, on his way from Madrid to Gorunna, could not have been less attractive and less inducive to "William's determination, for his journey took him past the beautiful mountain ridges and rocks of Gal- licia, and the granite peaks of Oorunna, where he made their formation a subject of interesting inqui- ries, and planned a pleasing picture of the breaches made by the sea, which must have violently separated these mountains which, millenniums ago, were united ridges and precipitous rocks. These descriptions, •written in the charming style of an Alexander von Humboldt, were probably the cause that the modest plan mentioned by Madame von Humboldt in her letter was extended by her husband, and that the whole family commenced^their pilgrimage to Spain in July.* Alexander arrived in Conmna with his companion; but here another hindrance threatened to prevent their departure. The English had blockaded the * William von Humboldt also "wrote fe Notes" on this trip, which clearly show the intellectual intimacy existing between the brothers. As Alexander everywhere,, on Ms scientific journeys, turns his ob- servation comprehensively to ethnographical, philological, historical, and philosophic subjects, which were properly William's sphere ; so William, whose subjects were more the ideal and mental develop- ments of life, has also given splendid descriptions of inanimate nature and of the world of reality. Both brothers show, in theao conceptions, their common intellectual Origin and education.